Microsoft chief tells agencies to look overseas for e-gov ideas

SEATTLE--Federal officials should look to their counterparts overseas for inspiration in advancing the cause of electronic government, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday. E-government is "one of the few areas where you can't say that any one country is out ahead of other countries," said Gates. The United States has led the movement towards e-commerce, he said, but has not differentiated itself significantly from other nations when it comes to e-government. Gates spoke to a crowd of more than 400 government officials from around the world gathered for the fourth annual Microsoft Government Leaders' Conference. In his speech, Gates described the evolution of e-government over the past decade, from establishing a basic online presence to enabling online transactions, using digital certificates and developing smart card applications. An increased need for security and authentication technology has marked the progress of the late 1990s, Gates said. Gates said Microsoft hopes to help agencies move to the next level of e-government with its new .NET series of software products. The .NET products are based on the extensible markup language (XML), the Internet language that allows information to be shared by disparate organizations and ultimately interpreted into one common format. British representative Andrew Pinder spoke at the conference on the United Kingdom's mandate to have 100 percent of its government services online by 2005. The centerpiece of that effort is UK Gateway, a Web portal that will allow citizens and businesses to conduct all official transactions online. The goal of making all government services digital in the next four years is an ambitious one by world standards, but Pinder predicted Britain would hit its target. In the United Kingdom today, he said, 57 percent of the population of 60 million people have access to the Internet, and 98 percent of the country's 3 million businesses are connected. Pinder said the British government needed a way not only to place its transactions on the Web, but to provide a heightened level of security while transmitting critical and sensitive information. UK Gateway provides that information assurance, he said, by allowing citizens to operate on the site with digital certificates that validate their identity. The UK Gateway currently allows users to file end-of-year employee withholding taxes and apply for farmer subsidies. Individuals and businesses use the site as a central point that links together all government transactions and provides single password access.

Pinder said that the ability to provide authentication of users and translate information reliably from all agencies is what distinguishes UK Gateway from other portal-type Web sites in governments around the world, including the U.S. government's FirstGov site.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.